Twelve weeks. Three months. 90 days, give or take a day.
That’s how long ago our world turned upside down. One minute we are planning an anniversary trip. All the details are in place. The littles are beyond excited to be a part. Then on a Thursday I find out that the cancer that’s been gone for 28 years has recurred.
A few days later, my husband calls and says words I can never forget, “Babe, I don’t think I’m going to make it.” He’s in his car, trying to get to a hospital. I call an Uber, afraid that I’ll find him on the side of the road. When I do find him, it is in a stark room in the ER — and he’s having a full-blown heart attack.
The next several hours are a blur. I find his car in the parking lot. It’s obvious he pulled in haphazardly and stumbled into the ER. We find out he needs heart surgery, a double bypass. I call my kids and they race toward us, just as confused as I am. While he’s in surgery I’m canceling flights and hotels and a 3-day cruise we dreamed about for a year. It was supposed to take us to a sunny place to celebrate a big anniversary.
Honestly, I didn’t care about any of that at the moment.
I just wanted my sweet guy to be okay. We later found out my jogging, healthy-eating guy has a genetic heart disease. There were no signs or symptoms, but it almost took his life.
For the next several weeks I took care of him as he recovered, and then a month ago we switched places. I put on the worn blue gown and bright yellow socks and they wheeled me into surgery. I lost a part of me that day, but the cancer was conquered.
When people ask, “How are you doing?” I can honestly say, “I’m blown away by how good God has been.”
They may not understand that, and sometimes I don’t totally understand it myself. All I know is that the peace that the Bible talks about is real. It has held us in ways that are beyond the norm. Sure, there have been lots of moments where I’ve wept and many times I’ve been overwhelmed, but my God is a safe place to share those very real feelings.
What I have also learned is that God uses people in the hardest places to bring joy.
Some of you have sent cards. Others sent private messages that spoke just the right words when we needed them. Some showed up with meals. Others sent a gift card so whoever was on caregiving duty could pick up a meal. Some sent up prayers daily. Others of you put surgery times in your phone so you could pray when we were wheeled back. Some of you prayed for my kids and my littles.
One sweet day I had two friends show up with guitars. I had been so housebound. They sat on the floor in my living room and we worshiped together. I sat in my recliner, bundled in warm blankets and I wept and wept, until that moment not realizing how much I needed what they had brought to me.
God’s people are meant to be an army for good.
I’m not naive enough to think that everyone has this when they need it, so it’s a reminder for me to do the same when all of this is behind us. We may not feel big enough to fix what someone else is going through, but it’s amazing what kindness can do — one act at a time, one person at a time.
I’ve been absent as I healed, but I’m coming to you today with a deep ocean of gratitude. I still have a couple of surgeries yet ahead, but I can’t help but remind myself and you, sweet friend, the strength and beauty of wrapping around each other — it’s the beauty of together.
Together we are stronger.
Together we make it through the hard places.
Together we make a difference.
Ask the Lord to show you who to love, and what to do. He’ll show you someone on his heart. Then do something. It may feel small, but I promise it will make a big difference.
I’d love to hear what you decide to do. When we love people, we become a small part of doing good. Together we become an army that wraps around those who need to know they are not alone.
- Listen to this episode of More Than Small Talk podcast “Suzie Has Cancer.” In this episode, we share more about this journey and how we can love others in hard places.
- 50 Ways to Show Appreciation to Those We Love — It’s a week all about love, but let’s show appreciation this week and every week to those we care about.
I feel the same. The very same. And I pray that I will be what others have been to me and to you. I love that we get to be a part of the army of good. Love you, dear friend.
My husband is also facing a very serious cancer surgery. I pray every day to be the best caregiver I can be. I want to patient, kind, gentle, and loving. I want to give some humor too! I want to be strong and fearless as he recovers. I know that God and His angels will be with both of us. I pray for you both as you face this journey too. May God bring us all peace.
Checking back in, Nancy. How is he doing?
I am so very grateful that you both are on the mend. I have been and will continue to pray healing over both of you. XXOO
I am so glad you are recovering. You both remain in my prayers.
This is a beautiful post, and I am so glad to read it – and to thank God for your recovery – both of you. I don’t take for granted how God placed the two of you in my life just before all this happened. You have taught me much while accompanying you along this journey in prayer. In the midst of these hardest times, God has used you in my and others life and I praise and thank him for that. Keep healing – and allowing God to carry you, and use you in the midst o it all. Sending love from Manitoba Canada!! xo
I’m so glad you are both doing well all things considered. Times like this really did perspective to life. You have been such an inspiration and a blessing through it all.
I had brain surgery going on 15 years ago and have been blessed beyond measure. It seems the long-term effects are catching up with me, but God is with me every step of the way. My favorite thing to do is cook for people. If I can stock their frig/freezer with home cooked meals to pull out when they need it most, I feel like the one who is blessed. Thank you for all you do and share. ❤️
Oh Suzie,what beautiful words. I love how God works through you always and shows us Together is the place to be. I wish I could hug both your necks but hopefully you feel the prayers surrounding you from TX. ❤️ Love you!!!
I praise God for you, your heart and ministry. You selflessly pour into millions, most of these people you will never meet.
Thank you for sharing your life, love and gifts with us.
It’s a honor to pray for Gods healing power and restoration over your entire family.
In sincere love,
Susie, thank you for your passion for the people of God.Your testimony gives us an true version of how we are to continue to focus on God as he carriers through every storm. Storms that will shape us to be more like him..a mirror image of Christ being victorious and not a victim. My prayers are with you & the family.
This is a powerful testimony, Suzie. I think we underestimate the power of those small, intentional offerings. I have seen God do some of the most amazing things in those come alongside relationships. Sometimes, God has me do little things for people I don’t know, who may need to see And experience His love that day. God is do good. He loves us through others and it is a reminder that He loves us, sees us, and is walking with us. It is the most beautiful thing. I am thankful for His tangible presence in your life this way. I love you!
I wanted to add some of the little things God gives me to do. Sometimes it is prayer right in the moment or just during the day as Hod brings them to mind. Sometimes it is a smile or a hug. Sometimes it is a cup of coffee and a listening ear. Sometimes it is quality time. Sometimes it is getting them a gift that is personal to them. Sometimes I send a card. Sometimes it is noticing someone who is weary and asking, “How are you?” Sometimes it is allowing myself to be inconvenienced for sake of someone else’s need. Sometimes it is speaking words of life and truth to someone. I used to think the little things weren’t good enough for God to use but I have seen Him do wonders through them. I have seen others be drawn back to Him through them.
I love that, Desiree.
so grateful to hear from you again and praying that all shall be well.God’s army that he sends
is like no other. I don’t feel I have accomplished anything for the day if I have not spoken
or done a small act of kindness for someone. The little things in life really do matter.
Take care you look beautiful.
For a season I was a man-jammies wearing makeup-less me and I’m cool with that. It was all part of getting stronger!
Praying for continued healing. Thank you for sharing your heart and being an inspiration to many! May God bless you, you are a blessing to others!
Beautiful words resonating with the deep peace of God. Suzie, continued prayers as you heal and move forward. Much love I’m wrapping around you. Servant leadership, helping and loving others..what we are all called to do, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. So glad to hear your words, thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us the simplest act of kindness could be everything the receiver needed in that moment. My daughter had back surgery in Dec and required weeks of care. She’s appreciative of the help poured out and was able to see God working even though she doesnt beleive.
Suzie, you couldn’t have written more encouraging words! So thankful for the ways God is using this difficult time in your life to bless and encourage others. Praying for healing and strength for you and your husband. It is truly amazing how God takes the most frightening and painful times in our lives and brings such blessing from it! You have been such an inspiration to me through these past few years. Today I am meeting for lunch with a new friend who has expressed how much she is struggling with much heartache in the last five years–sorrow upon sorrow. My prayer is to be a listening ear and a soft, safe place to share all that is on her heart. And to pray with her. I want my life to be a blessing, just as your friends and family have been a blessing to you. The Lord bless you, sweet Suzie! Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing your heart with all of us.
Praying for you Suzie and Richard. God is so good.
Thank you for sharing your heart and experience 💕. God is so loving and kind💝.
Something my kids and I started doing a few years ago that we truly get excited about on Valentines Day. Several weeks to a month ahead, we start preparing cards. Then on Valentines Day, we pray for God to lead us to the people who need these cards of love and encouragement. Sometimes we invite another family to go with us. It’s such an amazing experience that God allows us to partner with Him! It’s kind of like the move “The Letter Writer”. We do it periodically throughout the year but definitely on Valentines Day!
Another idea is we write at least 1 encouraging note each day and give/send it to someone. Sometimes it’s to an anonymous address/person, and other times it’s to a family member, friend, Pastor, whoever the Lord leads us to. So much joy!
I love this so much.
At low points in my life that could have destroyed me, I too was blessed to have an army around me (including you, Suzie).
I have prayed for you, Richard & the rest of the family during this battle. I continue to pray for you.
Today, we will bury my step father. It was just three months ago that I lost my Dad to a very fast & aggressive cancer.
This morning I am going to stand with a friend as she fights for custody of her children. I almost called to say I wouldn’t be able to go, because I only slept about an hour last night. But my friend could really use the love & support. So, I pray for God’s strength to get through this day. I covet your prayers as well.
If I were to describe you, it would be as someone who is an advocate for others. You love well, my friend.
Thank you Suzie for this sweet message. May God continue to do what he has done through his army💕
I have just read about all both of you are going through and I thank God for being with you all along. He will never leave you nor forsake you. I join every one in prayer for you even as am praying for my health and my husband’s too. All through it I know that God is faithful and all sufficient.
Trust Him and keep seeing Him in everything He will give you peace.
I love you.. remain blessed.
Suzie, I am so glad that you both are healing and allowing God’s army to minister to you. May you see how much you are loved by God’s sons and daughters, and may that understanding point you to the love of God.
I am praying for you and your family. Praise God that He sends His angels on earth to minister to us when we need it.
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 34 :10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
I am 641/2 years young, married to a 2 time cancer survivor, weeping as I read yet rejoicing I what I hear….these
Pics are priceless because I see healing, redemption, family….Jesus. Malachi 3:17
I’m happy to read this here, Suzie. I had been wondering how you are, and I pray for you and Richard as you come to mind.
One thing I believe God would have me do is be a welcomer for some of the international students at UT Arlington, 10 minutes from our home. We have started making a few friends and pray the Lord opens opportunities for us to share his love through service and caring.